This wasn’t how Jonathan Kongbo’s season was supposed to go.

Regarded by many as the top junior college prospect in the country last season, Kongbo was slated to come in and be an absolute force for Tennessee.

The defensive lineman has all of the tools one would look for: Impressive length, terrific size, excellent quickness, supreme athleticism, and a great motor. However, it hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

Through the first seven games of the season, Kongbo has accrued four tackles and two quarterback hurries. He’s yet to register a sack on the year.

Kongbo brought in an inordinate amount of hype from the JUCO ranks. With his less-than-stellar production on the field, many have criticized the defensive lineman. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop has been privy to the rumblings, and isn’t taking them lightly (as he told 247Sports):

“He’s figuring out this, that, the other thing, trying to figure out how to play college football at the real highest level right there, so be patient with him. He’s practiced better. He’s bought into the system. He’s trying to buy into our culture and kind of go forward.”

Shoop then spoke about Kongbo’s path to Knoxville. Despite his physical ability, Kongbo is a raw and inexperienced player. He’s yet to fully reach him immense potential. Going forward (in theory), coaching and tangible playing time will be the keys for Kongbo to continue to improve:

“I thought [Alabama] was his best game. He played, I think, 29 snaps. I think I saw someone wrote an article on declaring him a success or not a success. I think the jury’s still out on that. We’ve still got five games to go this year. Here’s a guy who’s still learning the game. I try to say that every week. The guy’s from Canada and got here via Vancouver, British Columbia, Laramie, Wyoming, and Yuma, Arizona, to get here, so he’s still figuring out the game.”